Ayurveda and Sports Medicine

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Sports medicine, as a separate medicinal specialty, has a recent origin. Sports medicine is difficult to define because it is not a single specialty, but an area that involves health care professionals, researchers and educators from a wide variety of disciplines. Its function can not only be curative and rehabilitative, but also used as a preventative, in which may actually be the most important of all. One may ask how a medical system such as Ayurveda that is more than five thousand years old, can make any contribution in a field like sports medicine.

When we observe Ayurveda we find there can be a very significant contribution to sports medicine as a whole. Three primary factors that influence athletic performance are genetic endowment, state of training and nutrition. Ayurveda offers comprehensive and detailed studies of these factors and provides support to gain optimal wellness in each area.

Ayurveda understands that physical fitness training is also influenced by many factors such as age, mental stability, environmental stresses, economical circumstances and so forth. Sports medicine is not just challenged by the musculo-skeletal but a combination of all of these factors. The approach in Ayurveda is holistic, where as it combines modalities to have profound impact on not just the physical problems but the much more important psyche of the sportsperson. It can effectively work towards stress relieving and in developing concentration. Ayurveda also has certain management protocol for a person who has been debilitated due to a disease, these could also be used effectively by those who are recuperating from an injury.

Injuries in sports are increasing with its popularization. The following are the most common injuries; injuries to ligament, injuries to tendon and injuries to muscle.  Ayurveda has very effective remedies that can either be used principally or as a supportive therapy in numerous orthopedic problems encountered by sports persons. One therapy is known as Marma Point Therapy. The use of pressure points called marma forms an important part of this therapy in Ayurveda. Just as acupuncture points are used by Chinese medicine, marma points are used by Ayurvedic physicians to heal, and support strength. Ayurveda also has very simple herbal formulations that can hasten the process of recuperation after a surgery, rehabilitation of an injured muscle, bone, performance levels.

For enhancing the physical prowess of a person, Ayurveda offers herbal supplement support . Ayurvedic herbal formulas are said to have components that can enhance the performance level. These were widely used in ancient times by warriors to enhance their performance during war as well as from getting tired easily.  Some of these are Mahakashaya Brimhaneeya dasaimani (Muscle builder), Jeevaneeya Dasaimani (Vitiliser) Balakara Dasaimani (Promotes strength) and Sramahara dasaimani (Promotes cheer). These formulas are non-steriodal and probably act by increasing the secretion of the biological hormones and enzymes in the body.

Even though good diet cannot guarantee success, poor diet can certainly undermine training. Ayurveda gives comprehensive descriptions of food substances that can increase muscle mass and physical prowess. In Ayurveda Nutrition, food should be taken according to eight factors such as nature of food, processing of food, combination, quantity, place, time dietetic rules, constitution also known as genetic make up. An Ayurvedic practitioner can develop a detailed nutritional plan that will support these eight factors in accordance with the individual goals.

As one can see, Ayurveda incorporate several principles that can be effectively used for improving the sports medicine as practiced today.  A relationship between modern sports medicine practitioners and Ayurvedic practitioners should be initiated to develop a more natural and effective way of approaching sports medicine.

 

Disclaimer
The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of Ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease.